Parella Shuts its Doors

Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table
Isabel Subtil / Heavy Table

After offering dining that was (in the words of owner Michael Larson) too fine for the tastes of Uptown, Parella has shut its doors. The restaurant got warm reviews in Mpls.-St. Paul Magazine and City Pages, but our reviewer found a number of dishes in need of fixes (such as the $27 brick-pressed chicken). Parella announced a new bar menu (including a hot dago and a giant 1/2 pound meatball) a few days ago, and we regret not making it over to the restaurant to give them a try. Parella was in the front ranks of ambitious Italian restaurants opening in the area, along with Monello, Il Foro, Italian Eatery and others – it will be interesting to see if its closure is a one-off or if other Italians tumble in the months to come. (It may also just be that the old Figlio space is well and truly cursed.)

One Comment

  1. Jon Brusven

    All of those restaurants are just vanity projects and to the extent that they serve the boring low-brow basics, it just isn’t very good. I’ve lived in Chicago and London and I would agree that Minneapolis has become something of a foodie haven of late, but unlike most good food-towns there doesn’t seem to be that broad middle here on the restaurant spectrum that focuses on the basics with high quality. It’s not that Minnesotans can’t handle “fine dining”, it’s more that our restaurant scene is pretty immature on a whole number of levels. Sure, Chicago has plenty of restaurants that cater to the more adventurous palate but it’s a sideshow in a city with a restaurant scene built on a quality roster of traditional French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, American, etc, etc, restaurants.

    A perfect example of the mentality in the food community here was a conversation I had several years ago with the chef/owner of the now defunct North Coast in Wayzata. He sneeringly said, “I can’t cook what I want to make in WAYZATA, MINNESOTA.” “Like what?” I asked. “Well, I’d have a lot of liver dishes.” Great. A liver restaurant. The ironic thing was that he wasn’t very good (or at least consistent) at the apparently demeaning stuff he was “forced” to serve. Maybe it’s time to stop blaming the victim.

    If Minneapolis was a real food city we’d have a solid core between the processed “bar food” at 90% of the places and the guys/gals trying to be the second incarnation of Charlie Trotter. But unfortunately that core is pretty weak here and it’s a shame. And I don’t think Rick Nelson has done this city any favors because he doesn’t seem to countenance any place unless it serves something like tripe flambe’ with a chili maple glaze and twelve other things of that ilk (if I remember correctly he loved Il Gato). As for Italian, Minneapolis could use some good red sauce places like Alessa in Laguna Beach where the only conceit is high quality food in a pleasing atmosphere.

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